Country North Show kicks off 2024 Winter Festival

Emma Kawula performs at the 2024 Country North Show. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Some of Prince Albert’s top country music talent took the stage at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre on Friday to kick off the Prince Albert Winter Festival.

Music fans packed the building for the opening night of the Country North Show. Country North producer Kim Villeneuve said she’s excited to have it back for another year.

“There’s nothing more exhilarating than getting up on stage and performing, feeling good about what you do, and having the crowd appreciative of you being up there,” said Villeneuve, who is in her fifth year producing the show. “It takes a lot to get up there. When you love doing something like that, it makes it easy and the crowd makes it even better.”

Nancy Hagen performs at the 2024 Country North Show. — Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Villeneuve also performed as a back-up singer on opening night, in addition to her production duties. The list of performers included Kara Frey, Jaelyn Furber, Miranda Ironstand-Baxter, Aiden Edwards, Layton Ferster, Dave Arseneault, Cole Walker, Mercy Glover, Josh Stumpf, Morgan Desjardins, Emma Kawula, Taya Lebel, Melissa Cournoyer, and Maurice Villeneuve. The Prince Albert Winter Festival has partnered with Lake Country Co-op to host the event.

Villeneuve said the show has always been a staple of Prince Albert’s Winter Festival, and this year is no different.

 “I think it’s just because we always have a mix of old performers (and) new performers,” she said. “It’s showcasing Prince Albert talent at its finest and everyone loves to see that.”

The Country North Show’s second and third performances run on Saturday with the regular show at 7 p.m. and the Country North Cabaret at 10 p.m. Both events are at the Exhibition Centre.

City’s best young performers take the stage on Sunday at PA Winter Festival Youth Extravaganza

The musical events continue on Sunday with the Winter Festival’s Youth Extravaganza. First-year Extravaganza producer Mike Mogg said he’s excited to have so many talented young performers on stage at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre.

“I think music and any other art form is hugely important to the development of children and teens and it’s a great way for kids to express themselves and have an outlet for things that they’re going through,” he said. “Learning an instrument is something that takes a lot of dedication and lots and lots of practice, and when they finally get to show off the skills they’ve been working on, they get a lot out of the performance. It’s a really rewarding thing for both them and for me to see them on stage.”

Mogg has spent the last seven years teaching music at PACI. He runs a “school of rock” type program where students learn to play drums, guitar, or bass instead of more traditional wind and string instruments.

After helping out with the 2023 Street Fair, Prince Albert Winter Festival organizing committee member Trina Joseph suggested he start producing the Youth Extravaganza.

Mogg said signing up was an easy decision.

“(I’m) A little nervous, but I think we’ve been working hard at planning it and I think everything is going to go pretty good,” he said. “I’m feeling good about it.”

The Youth Extravaganza begins at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11 at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre.